This fern is found in many parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, including South Africa; the most widespread species of its genus. The creeping rhizomes of Elaphoglossum acrostichoides are covered in dark scales. There is an epiphytic or lithophytic forest form with thin texture as well as a smaller, thicker or leathery textured geophytic form occurring in high elevation grassland, in crevices of rocks. Epiphytic plants grow on other plants upon which they depend for mechanical support but not for nutrients. Lithophytes attach themselves to rocks above ground. Elaphoglossum acrostichoides fronds are erect in the grassland form, otherwise arching (JSTOR; http://apps.kew.org).